Berlin keep clean record, Icelander boosts Kadetten
Away teams were victorious in many of the Last 16, first leg matches in the EHF European League, but there was an exception in Switzerland: boosted by outstanding play from Icelander Odinn Thor Rikhardsson, Kadetten Schaffhausen beat Swedish side Ystad 38:32.
On the other hand, Füchse Berlin withstood a strong comeback from Skjern and took a 28:23 away victory in Denmark - their 11th in the same number of European League matches. The winners of both pairings will clash in the quarter-finals for a spot at the EHF Finals in Flensburg (27/28 May).
LAST 16, FIRST LEG
Skjern Handbold (DEN) vs Füchse Berlin (GER) 23:28 (11:14)
Füchse Berlin extended their streal of European League victories to eleven in a row and took a huge step towards the quarter-finals. Danish World Championship MVP and top scorer, Mathias Gidsel scored six goals against his fellow countrymen, while Austrian right wing Robert Weber, who arrived in Berlin in February as a replacement for Hans Lindberg, netted nine times. Right from the start, Skjern were outclassed as Berlin pulled ahead for an 8:3 lead. Boosted by 11 saves by goalkeeper Christopher Bonde, the hosts managed to reduce the gap to three goals at the break.
With Oliver Norlyk on fire in the middle of the second half, Skjern even levelled the score at 22:22 with nine minutes left. However, while the arena went crazy, Berlin remained cold as ice, and did not allow any Skjern goal for eight minutes to pulled ahead to a decisive 28:22 lead. The Berlin run including three Weber strikes and four saves by goalkeeper, Dejan Milosavljev.
I am extremely happy to finish this match like we did, as it was a very special one for me to return to Denmark.
Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) vs Ystads IF HF (SWE) 38:32 (21:17)
What a night for Icelandic wing Odinn Thor Rikhardsson. Scoring 14 times from 15 attempts, he was the well-deserved match winner for Kadetten Schaffhausen, who are now close to repeating history. Last year, they eliminated Sävehof in the Last 16 of the European League. And, now the Swiss champions have opened the gate towards the quarter-finals against Sävehof’s Swedish rivals from Ystad.
Kadetten never trailed in the match, but Ystad stayed in range for most of the match and trailed 29:27 with 15 minutes left in the match. The hosts then scored a crucial 5:1 run for a 34:28 lead - and kept this distance until the end. Despite an outstanding performance from veteran and three-time EHF Champions League winner, Kim Andersson (eight goals), Ystad now need a miracle in the second leg on home ground to proceed.